“As the United States Department of Justice attempts to extradite an Australian indicted as head of an international software piracy ring, the battle against software piracy has been spurred by unsubstantiated claims it funds terrorism.
The Department of Justice made the claims before a United States congressional hearing earlier this month but could not provide evidence.
Organised criminal syndicates profit from piracy, according to John G. Malcolm, a deputy assistant attorney general in the criminal division at the Department of Justice. He was addressing the US House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property oversight hearing, titled “International Copyright Piracy Links to Organised Crime and Terrorism”.
Making the link to terrorism Malcolm said, “Organised crime syndicates are frequently engaged in many types of criminal enterprises, including supporting terrorist activities”.
Malcolm could not cite an actual case where software piracy was linked to terrorism, but said, “it would surprise me greatly if the number were not large”.”
“Operation Buccaneer has seen software pirates put behind bars for several years. Similar penalties should apply to college students downloading pirated material using peer-to-peer applications such as KaZaA, Congressman John Carter – a Texas Republican – told the congressional hearing.
“I think it’d be a good idea to go out and actually bust a couple of these college kids,” said Carter.
“If you want to see college kids duck and run, you let them read the papers and somebody’s got a 33-month sentence in the federal penitentiary for downloading copyrighted materials.””